A pair of Assemblymen are asking incoming U.S. Secretary of Education John King to grant waivers to New York State to give more flexibility to schools in the use of standardized tests to assess students with disabilities and English language learners.

Anthony Brindisi and Sean Ryan of Buffalo say the Utica and Buffalo School Districts have many similarities, including a high immigrant and refugee population and a significant number of disabled students.

Assemblyman Brindisi said “Many school districts across the state face a unique challenge due to larger populations of students with disabilities and English Language Learners. School officials in Utica have told me it is too much to expect students with disabilities to be tested at their current grade level rather than their developmental level. It also is unreasonable to expect a student who never has attended school in this country to be tested on reading and language arts in just one year when they are still learning to speak English.

In July, the federal Secretary of Education denied a waiver request from the state.

A month later, New York's Education Commissioner and the State Board of Regents Chancellor requested an appeal of the decision.